Assorted pastries. From back left to front right: guava strudel, almond danish, croissant, coconut glazed, coconut strudel, apple empanada
Though Porto's is a Los Angeles legend, it's possible to not know about it, especially if you live on the Westside. In an attempt to avoid the crowds, we visited late on a Saturday afternoon, but despite primarily being a bakery, the place was a madhouse. As we waited in line, we crained our necks around the throngs ordering at the counter trying to pick out which goodies we wanted. Few items are labeled, so unless you're a regular, you'll just have to point. Printed and posted menus curiously don't list all the items.
Assorted savory pastries. From back left to front right: pastel de carne (meat pie), chorizo pie, chicken empanada, ham croquettes, potato balls
Porto's serves both sweet and savory pastries with a Cuban influence. With so many delicious options, you can feel the pounds piling on before you even start eating. While there are really no bad dishes, in the savory category, you won't want to miss the pastel de carne (puff pastry filled with seasoned ground beef), chicken empanada (filled with moist, shredded chicken and peppers), or potato balls (mashed potato wrapped around seasoned ground beef, breaded and deep fried). In the sweet category, be sure to try the mango empanadas, cheese danish, and coconut strudel.
In addition to its pastries, Porto's offers a selection of sandwiches. The medianoche (midnight) sandwich, a concoction of ham, roasted pork, swiss cheese, pickles, mustard, and mayonnaise on a toasted sweet roll, is tastier than its simple appearance implies. The grilled chicken sandwich is basic but juicy and tender.
Grilled chicken sandwich
Porto's prices are stunningly low--and they create and delivery large orders for parties. Imagine how many people you could feed on the cheap when a dense, filling empanada costs just 95 cents? Most savory pastries are under $1.00 to start with and are even cheaper when you buy them 50 pieces at a time. The sweet pastries are equally inexpensive. If you're looking for something more sophisticated, Porto's also has a large selection of French-style cakes and mousses and they also do elaborate wedding cakes.
315 N. Brand Blvd.
Glendale, CA 91203
Porto's website (very informative)